2 IITians open tea cafe chain in NCR, look to VC funding

IITians come together to start a tea cafe chain \'Chaayos\' in the NCR region

NEW DELHI: Quitting high flying jobs in the US, two IITians have joined hands to start a tea cafe chain 'Chaayos' in the NCR region and are looking to raise venture capital to open nearly 50-odd stores across the country.

Currently, there are five cafes with the theme 'Experiments with Chai' in Gurgaon and Noida and five more would be opened by the end of this year.

“We already have raised one round of angel investment of over Rs 2 crore from Powai Lake Ventures, led by Zishaan Hayath, who is an angel investor. We are planning to go in for institutional round towards end of this year,” said Nitin Saluja, founder of Chaayos.

The chain plans to add another 50 cafes in the next two years by covering at least two more cities and increase its penetration in the Delhi NCR region.

“We are targeting cities with lots of young population,” he said.

Talking about the USP of Chaayos, Saluja, an IIT Bombay graduate, said that they give customer the flexibility to customise their chai in their own way.

“Customers can customise their chai in over 12,000 ways depending on the various add-on choices they make,” he said.

The chain’s co-founder, Raghav Verma, an IIT Delhi graduate, said the chai cafe offers over 25 interesting tea flavours and some delightful tea-snacks.

“We have wide range of varieties. It starts from traditional desi-chai to Kangra tea to unique aam-papad and harimirch-chai,” Verma said.

“Since India is a tea-drinking nation and we believe that Chaayos can grow to over 1000 cafin next few years,” said Saluja.

In order to allow patrons to enjoy its chai at their homes, the chai chain is also looking to sell merchandise including adrak-tusli chai, desichai, green tea, chai masala and chaimug.

“We will be selling our merchandise from our outlets, starting next month,” he said.